If you look into successful people’s life you may find there are a lot of different reasons for their success. But there are also many common factors that helped these people become successful. And if you look into their habits there certainly are some that are very common.
Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out.
~ Robert Collier
In this article I want to share with you the 5 habits list I found out to be in a really good use when you want to achieve your goals. I believe that in order to achieve success in life one needs to have the right habits.
Why? Because achieving a goal requires persistence and everyday work. And that’s where habits can come into hand or stand in the way. We all have habits but we are not always aware which of them are in our use and which prevent us from being successful.
Well, first let’s define habit. One good (non-psychological) definition that I like is “A habit is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.” In other words, the habit is an action that we perform repeatedly and may be automatically, usually without awareness. Here is the key – “usually without awareness”. That is why habits are not very easy to break or replace with new ones. But if done with the right purpose, I believe the efforts worth it.
Here is my list of 5 habits that can help you achieve your goals easier and be successful.
1. Focus on your visions
Well, after all, it is assumed that you already have set your goals and you have at least one 25-year vision. If you’ve already read my previous post “Do you need to set goals?” probably you started writing down your goals or even better at that time you’ve already been doing it! That’s the first big win. The second one is to put the visions on a list and create a habit to check it every day. This way you won’t let your thoughts about the goal fade and you will keep your focus on what’s really important for you.
How to create this habit? There are many ways for that and I am sure you can be really creative about that. The obvious ways are to write them down on a list and put it in a place where you can see it every day, set a reminder to check and re-think them every morning, put a repeating task on your To-Do list, even use your calendar for that, etc.
But let’s go a little deeper. Just looking at the list may not be enough. I would suggest every time you check your “visions list” to stop for a minute at each of them, think about why you want to achieve it and then feel the goal! Sit down for a minute and imagine you’ve already reached the goal. Imagine the place where you are and what you are doing (just try and do that now, while reading!). What does it feel like? Do you feel the excitement, happiness, fulfillment…?
This way you start an emotional process that makes you take action on your goals. And that is exactly what successful people do – action!
2. Create an everyday task list
There are various ways to do that, so I will share how I do it, the reasons why, and if you feel there may be a better way for you to do that simply adjust and use it. Just make sure you don’t overcomplicate the process. It is crucial to keep things simple.
First I create a next action step for the week for each of my 90-day action goals. That means that every Sunday I sit down in front of my 90-day action goals list and for each of them I decide “what is the next action step I want to get done for the upcoming week”. The result is a list of next actions that I need to finish in the next seven days.
Now comes the tricky part. If I just make that list and don’t use it during the days it is very likely that at the end of the week I won’t have finished the next steps. So what I am doing is to put those next steps in my regular everyday to-do list among things like “pay the bill”, “go to dentist”, “shopping at grocery store”, etc.
Why? Because otherwise my focus goes to the everyday tasks and it turns out that there is never enough time to work on my goals. If I merge my “goals next action steps list” with my “everyday to-do list” then at some point I find the time for the next action of an action goal and at the end of the week usually all my goals have advanced.
Does it sound reasonable for you? If yes, adjust this to your way of going through everyday life and just do it. It is simple. (1) Decide what are the next actions for your goals and (2) then make them every day.
This is my favorite habit. There are tons of materials on the internet about “why to get up early” so I won’t get into details, but I just want to relate it to achieving your goals. However if you feel you need a little more info and a motivation kick you can watch one of my favorite videos on the topic by Robin Sharma – “How to wake up early” .
If you win the battle of the bed you win a step towards your goals. And not only that, but this is what I am going to focus on now. Getting up early (and what I mean is around 5 a.m., not 7 a.m.) helps us prepare for the day in a unique way because the early hours are quiet time full of peace. During that time we are not reactive and we have control of what we want to do. Things are done much more easily compared to the later hours during the day because we have more will power, more energy and we are more focused.
That is the best time of the day to make a plan for the day with focus on your goals. Think about which of the next steps you can finish in that day or use that time to make some of them. You may find out that everything is done so much faster and easier in the beginning of the day.
What’s more, this habit can unlock the ability for so many nice things that you never have time for. And I can bet that some of those things can be a life changer if done every day. Just imagine that everyday you have time for your favorite meditation, to express gratitude, write in your journal, read a favorite book, go for 15 minutes run, connect with yourself or just stop and be aware and feel. If done every day it can really change your life. As we live our days, so we live our life.
4. Take care of yourself
Ok, how can this be a habit? Not only that this is one of the most important things to do in your life, but you can really make habits to support yourself in all main areas of your life.
Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. That is simply a fact. It is not possible to take care of your family, your friends, your co-workers/employees if you do not take care of yourself first. It’s like saying “I don’t have time to stop and refuel the car”. Soon or later you will have to.
So, sit down and write on a list of paper the areas of your life you consider important. Then figure out how you can support yourself in each of them and write down the ideas next to each area. Can you make those ideas as habits?
Here are my areas and some of my habits.
- Personal growth. Habit: every morning (guess at what time!) make a meditation, write down three things I am grateful for, three things I am successful in, three things I forgive for.
- Health. Habits: (1) every morning make 10 minutes of exercises and have a healthy breakfast, (2) three-four times a week go to the gym, (3) have at least 3 liters of water each day, etc.
- Finance. That’s a huge topic and my habits in this area are mainly related to the 6 Jars money management system by Harv Eker.
The rest of my areas are bellow and I will leave it to your creativity to figure out what habits would support them.
Which are your important areas? If those above are too many for you, then you probably can merge them and make a shorter list, similar to that of Tony Robbins. Here is how his list looks like:
- Personal development goals
- Career/business/economic goals
- Toys/adventure goals
- Contribution goals
And here is a question for you – “how taking care of myself helps me achieve my goals”? Don’t look for the answer in the text above. Answer this for yourself.
5. No TV, instead read a lot
Let me put it this way – do you prefer to lose your life to television instead of following your dreams? Because that is what happens when you grab the TV remote. The average time spent per day with TV by US adults for 2016 is more than 4 hours! In Europe it is a little better but not much really (about 25% less). There is an interesting statistic that shows that 67% of the successful and rich people watch less than one hour TV a day. In the same time only 6% of poor people do that.
I would say stop watching TV at all. I was a teenager when I decided not to waste my time on TV anymore and since then I can only be grateful for that decision (I haven’t done the math but it’s probably years I saved this way). Watching TV is not only a huge waste of time, but is also a program for negativity. Almost every television show, and especially the news, is negative. There is a huge lack of positive messages. Of course there are some exceptions to this rule, but they are few. So save yourself some time and get more positive by limiting or giving up watching TV at all.
If you stop watching TV you may find yourself with a huge amount of free time. Use it to read books, to develop yourself, to connect with other people and most importantly – use it to follow your dreams and achieve your goals!
Transform your habits to transform your life!
And finally, if you find this tips useful share them with your friends – you never know who might need them just now!